IBM Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, APM Blog, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, IBM Cloud, Containers Expo Blog

Microservices Expo: Article

IBM Unveils its ‘System of Systems’

It’s supposed to the fastest, most powerful, scalable, power-efficient mainframe ever

zEnterprise it is then.

That's the name of the new hybridized cross-platform IBM mainframe system that arrived like we said it would on Thursday to be described as the most significant change in the mainframe platform in 20 years.

It's supposed to the fastest, most powerful, scalable, power-efficient mainframe ever, capable of managing 100,000 virtualized servers as a single system.

And, like we said, that single virtualized system can be the box core zEnterprise 196 mainframe and ancillary Power7 and System x servers sharing resources complements of IBM's newfangled zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension and Unified Resource Manager, which reduces hypervisors (except the z/VM) to firmware.

IBM says it took four years, the input of 30 customers, the work of 5,000 Big Blue employees, and upwards of $1.5 billion to achieve this converged architecture, which is suppose to bestow the blessings of mainframe security, reliability, governance and manageability on Power7 and x86 workloads.

IBM claims that means it can lower x86 and Power acquisition costs by 40% and reduce TCO by 55%.

Compared to the existing z10 mainframe, the zEnterprise 196 is supposed to be 60% more performant, use 90% less energy and floor space, and have 60% more capacity.

Naturally IBM touts the thing as a private cloud maker. A single zEnterprise System is supposed to be good for a trillion instructions a second.

IBM hasn't priced the thing yet because deliveries won't start until September and it doesn't want to jinx the sales of any older model widgetry that might move between now and then.

HP calculates that IBM's mainframe sales - excluding software or services - are down 25% in the last two years. In the last quarter results that IBM just released the other day IBM said z Series sales were down 24% year-over-year against an easy compare.

BusinessWeek figures the new mainframe will start at around a million dollars and could have a profit margin of ~70% versus 46% for the company as a whole. Forbes puts its upper end at $40 million, and that's excluding the blade servers.

Sanford Bernstein says the mainframe contributes over 20% of IBM's revenues and 40% of its profits all things considered: hardware, storage, software, services, financing.

That's why the old dinosaurs are so important to IBM and why it's willing to court the wrath of the regulators to keep competitors at bay. Happily for IBM Citi wants to replace its flotilla of 50 mainframes with the new system in the next 12-18 months.

The Unified Resource Manager and the BladeCenter Extension that supports Power7 blades running AIX won't be available until Q4 and the x86 widgetry for running Linux won't be out until the first half of next year. But just because IBM doesn't have prices, or the blades for that matter, doesn't mean it can't say that a single virtualized Linux-on-System z server can be created and deployed for less than a dollar a day or that it could cost 74% less to run Oracle workloads on the zEnterprise 196 than x86 systems.

You can practically hear it calculating the erosion it thinks it might do to HP x86 and Unix sales by sucking up islands of infrastructure. Might make up some for IBM's own drooping x86 and Unix sales.

The new mainframe is supposed to support 114 blades each with eight cores and given its exclusionary practices it's hard to see these blades ever being anything but IBM blades or the zEnterprise interoperating with, say, HP or Oracle or Cisco or Dell blades unless the regulators think differently.

Its rivals can only hope IBM has just walked into the spinning props of a regulatory helicopter that seem to say "foreclosing an adjacent market," "adjacent market," "adjacent market" over and over again. IBM's usual defense in such situations is to maintain that mainframes aren't a market unto themselves, which seems to make about as much sense as Bill Gates telling that first congressional committee Microsoft hasn't a monopoly. Maybe zEnterprise is supposed to make the distinction less clear.

Anyway, the 196 mainframe contains 96 5.2GHz 45nm processors capable of executing more than 50 billion instructions a second, and up to 3TB of memory. The chips are supposed to improve the performance of data-intensive and Java workloads by up to 60% and improved software performance can reduce software license costs.

The new mainframe is supposed to offer 60% more capacity than its predecessor, the System z10, but still use about the same amount of electricity. There's also a water-cooling option available that can reduce energy use by up to 12%.

The z196 can handle 80 zAAP, zIIP IFL specialty processors for running Java, DB2 and Linux on the mainframe.

There's a whole lot of new software that goes with the new machine like an accelerator for analytic workloads running on the BladeCenter Extension using DB2 data on the z196 as well as new Tivoli widgetry, a new Rational Developer and new Lotus productivity software to run on the Linux side of the equation. It's also promising maybe 40% improvement in traditional z/OS workloads and an additional 30% improvement in CPU-intensive workloads via compiler enhancements.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...